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‘Goldfinger’ murder shrouded in mystery as police renew appeal for information | UK News



Detectives have renewed an appeal for information over the murder of a notorious criminal shot dead in his garden.

John “Goldfinger” Palmer, 65, was thought to have been killed by a professional hitman in June 2015.

Investigators believe the killer climbed over the fence to get into the garden and shot Palmer at close range six times in the only part of the garden not covered by CCTV.

A mortally wounded Mr Palmer managed to walk a short distance towards his house in Brentwood, Essex, before collapsing.

He was then discovered by relatives who called for help, but he later died from his injuries.

CCTV footage from the home of John Palmer shows his final hours before being shot in his garden
CCTV footage from the home of John Palmer shows his final hours before being shot in his garden

Police and paramedics initially failed to notice he had been shot and announced he had died from natural causes.

Investigators say a spyhole found in the garden fence of Palmer’s rural home suggested the killer may have been watching him in the days leading up to his death.

A suspect was arrested in the case, but was released without charge.

In the weeks prior to his death, Mr Palmer and ten others were charged with various offences in relation to a real estate fraud in Tenerife, Spain.

That led to speculation in the underworld both in the UK and abroad that Mr Palmer may have been seeking a deal with Spanish prosecutors in order to have the charges dropped.

However, there is nothing to suggest this was true, Essex Police has said.

A spyhole believed to have been scratched by a suspected hitman in the garden fence of notorious criminal John "Goldfinger" Palmer
A spyhole believed to have been scratched by a suspected hitman in Palmer’s garden fence

Investigators say the timing of the criminal charges has always been a key consideration as a possible motive for Mr Palmer’s murder.

Now, following the conclusion of the trial and sentencing, detectives are once again appealing for information.

“In the last year there have been significant developments and events within the criminal underworld that may now mean people who have information may feel able to come forward,” said senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Stephen Jennings.

Det Supt Jennings said there was speculation at the time of Palmer’s death that he could have been connected to the Hatton Garden safety deposit burglary, which happened two months before he died.

There is nothing to suggest he was involved but he did have links with those who are currently serving time in prison for the burglary, Det Supt Jennings said.

Essex Police's DCI Stephen Jennings takes to Sky's Martin Brunt about the investigation into the mysterious killing of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer

Gangster ‘had links’ to Hatton Garden heist

Palmer’s underworld life and riches had long made him a target of other criminals.

He wore a bullet-proof vest and was shadowed by a minder in and out of court every day during his Old Bailey trial in 2001 when he was jailed for timeshare fraud after his business conned thousands of Britons with promises of holiday homes in the sun.

Mr Palmer gained his “Goldfinger” nickname after being acquitted of handling gold bullion in the £26m Brink’s-Mat raid in 1983.

He was once described as Britain’s richest criminal and was thought to have been worth £300m.

Police say his family are continuing to offer a reward of up to £100,000 for information leading to arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for his murder.

Since Palmer’s death, detectives have closely examined his history and associations in the UK and abroad.

They have also taken hundreds of witness statements, examined more than 1,400 documents and pursued more than 700 lines of enquiry.

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